Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dueling Chowdahs: Weeks 47 and 48

This month I have been in search of a perfect corn chowdah (must say it like you are from Boston. It taste better that way). Soup in the wintertime is a source of warmth and comfort, and I am anxious to expand my cooking repertoire.

Plus, we needed to audition soups to take to the Benson Christmas dinner this weekend.

It was only fair to have a cook off between two recipes. One recipe is per a cookbook we received as a wedding gift and have only discovered its genius (America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook) and the other one was found on Pinterest.

Corn Chowder

Serves 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

10 ears fresh corn, husks and silk removed (we substituted frozen corn. Directions below)
4 ounces bacon (about 4 slices), chopped fine
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk (I just used 1 cup 1 percent)
12 ounces red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 bay leaves (didn't have this but I am sure it would just add to the flavor)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
1 cup heavy cream (didn't include. Do you usually keep cream on hand?)
2 tablespoons minced parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven (I just used a regular pan) over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
3. Slowly stir in the broth and milk, scraping up any brown bits. Stir in potatoes, bay leaves, thyme and grated corn.
4. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, about 15 minutes.
5. Stir in remaining corn kernels and cream. Continue to simmer until corn kernels are tender yet still slightly crunchy, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Rating: 4. Delicious. However, the potatoes were cut too small for me to easily pick them out (I hate potatoes). And I omitted the cream (I never have cream on hand) so it wasn't as creamy as I would have liked it to be.

Note: How to use frozen corn: Puree 1 pound of frozen corn in blender with broth until smooth. Omit flour in step 2 and use the pureed frozen corn in place of grated corn.

Summer Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder

Serves 4
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25-30 minutes


1. Pierce potato in several places with a fork; microwave on high power until tender, turning over once, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool; peel and mash.

2. Meanwhile, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray. Add celery, onion, corn and red pepper; sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

3. Stir bacon and milk into saucepan; stir in mashed potato and mix well. Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce; stir to combine. Cover and simmer 10 minutes (do not allow to boil). Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving. 

Rating: 4.7. LOVED this soup. The flavor was strong, yet delicious. And I loved having the potato mashed. I could barely even taste it! The extra veggies really made this soup hearty.

Note: I would add more liquid. It was more corn with some liquid instead of just soup. Also, corn on the cob really made a difference. The taste was elevated.

*This recipe is no longer "Weight Watcher approved." I doubled the bacon because I wanted to. I am pretty sure that negates the endorsement. Oh, well.


Christmas dinner, here we come!

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